Coal India Cuts Prices as Stockpiles Grow

first_imgCoal India Cuts Prices as Stockpiles Grow FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享From the Economic Ties of India:Coal India has cut prices of top grades of coal by up to 40% on the back of more than adequate coal production as well as about 58 million tonnes of stock pile. The coal behemoth’s decision to cut prices of high energy content coal that competes directly with imported coal by 10-40% for both power producers and non-power producers for the first time in three years follows a global price crash of the commodity.“Following a rapid fall in international coal prices and a stockpile at pit heads, high energy coal produced mainly from Eastern Coalfields, South Eastern Coalfields and North Eastern Coalfields have been slashed for volumes supplied over 90%,” a senior Coal India official said on Monday.A senior power sector official said, “We have been told that the price cut offer will remain valid for the entire financial 2016-17 and it is being introduced on an experimental basis following a large stock pile and a massive fall in global prices.”Full article: Coal India cuts prices of top grade coal by up to 40% on global cueslast_img read more

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Puerto Rico to Seek Buyers for Battered Electricity Utility

first_imgPuerto Rico to Seek Buyers for Battered Electricity Utility FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Puerto Rico’s governor said on Monday he intends to sell off the U.S. territory’s troubled power utility to the private sector, saying the process could take roughly 18 months to complete. A worker of Puerto Rico’s Electric Power Authority (PREPA) repairs part of the electrical grid after Hurricane Maria hit the area in September, in Manati, Puerto Rico October 30, 2017. The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) has yet to recover fully from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria, which in late September knocked out power to the entire island, leaving all 3.4 million residents in the dark and killing dozens of people. “The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority has become a heavy burden on our people, who are now hostage to its poor service and high cost,” Governor Ricardo Rossello said in a statement. “What we know today as the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority does not work and cannot continue to operate like this.” Less than 64 percent of homes and businesses are receiving power, according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Energy. PREPA had promised that most of the island would have power by the end of December. The new plan calls for 30 percent of power generation to be from renewable sources. Rossello described how the process for breaking up the company would occur in three phases, calling it a move toward a “consumer-centered model.” Phase one consists of defining the legal framework via legislation. Phase two will be evaluating bids, and phase three will be “the terms of awarding and hiring the selected companies that meet the requirements for the transformation and modernization of our energy system will be negotiated.” Given PREPA is currently trying to work its way through bankruptcy and all of the island’s financial dealings must go through the federally appointed Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico, selling off PREPA’s assets could be a long process. One analyst was skeptical of Rossello’s plan. “He’s got no energy plan, no financial analysis, if he thinks he’s going to sell it off and the private sector is going to come in and invest, that is a recipe for Puerto Rico being raked over the coals by private interests,” said Tom Sanzillo, director of finance for the Cleveland, Ohio-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. “This will produce a maximum amount of corruption and a minimal amount of electricity,” said Sanzillo, whose as provided expert witnesses to PREC proceedings.More: Puerto Rico to sell off crippled power utility PREPAlast_img read more

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Four bidders vying for New York’s first offshore wind contract

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:New York State said on Thursday it had received proposals from Norway’s Equinor and three joint ventures to build its first offshore wind power park of at least 800-megawatt capacity.The three joint ventures are Bay State Wind, between Danish Orsted and Eversource Energy; Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind, consisting of France’s EDF and Shell; and Vineyard Wind, between Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Avangrid Renewables, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) said in a statement.New York state closed bidding for the park on Thursday, a part of its push to increase renewable energy production, and will choose a supplier in the spring. “The response to New York’s inaugural solicitation for 800 megawatts or more of offshore wind is unprecedented and historic,” NYSERDA said.Proposals include projects to build up to 1,200 MW of capacity, which if constructed would be the largest offshore wind project in the United States, it added.Equinor, which won a U.S. federal auction in 2016 to lease 80,000 acres south of Long Island, said the area could potentially allow it to build an offshore wind park of up to 2,000 MW.NYSERDA said the first offshore wind solicitation should help advance New York State’s plans to reach a goal of building 9,000 MW of offshore wind capacity by 2035.More: Equinor, 3 JVs vie for offshore wind power park in New York Four bidders vying for New York’s first offshore wind contractlast_img read more

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Coal-fired electric generation in India expected to fall for the first time in 14 years

first_imgCoal-fired electric generation in India expected to fall for the first time in 14 years FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Coal’s use for power in India is set to shrink for the first time in at least 14 years as demand slows and cheaper and cleaner renewable sources of electricity erode the fossil fuel’s share.Coal generation fell for a fourth month in November, the longest such streak in government data going back to 2005. That echoes a decline in consumption because of slowing industrial activity and prolonged rains that pushed up production from hydroelectric dams while curbing electricity demand for air conditioning and irrigation.When demand is down, utilities end up reducing offtake from costlier coal plants, and buy more from other sources such as hydro, renewables and nuclear, said Sambitosh Mohapatra, partner for power and utilities at PricewaterhouseCoopers India.Power generation from coal, the most polluting fossil fuel, slumped 11% from a year earlier in November. Output in the year to November fell 2.4%, the first ever drop for the 11-month period.India has a coal-fired generation capacity of almost 198 gigawatts, which accounts for about 54% of its installed generation capacity. That share has reduced over the past years and is set to come down further as the country adds more clean power to deal with air pollution and meet its climate goals. India’s coal fleet used barely 51.4% of its capacity in November, compared with 60.5% a year earlier, Central Electricity Authority data showed.[Rajesh Kumar Singh]More: India’s coal power usage set to shrink for first time in 14 yearslast_img read more

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Terror on Brown Mountain

first_imgAudio interview with Brown Mountain Lights witness: Sometime around 7pm Thursday of last week I found myself sitting on the beat down bed of a dive hotel located in Boone, North Carolina. I was loading cameras into their bags and organizing some things I had just pulled out of the Blue Ridge Outdoors Subaru road-vehicle, which we use at the magazine for such adventures, and wondering why I had decided to go on a UFO hunt in the middle of the night all by myself. Of course, the sun was beginning to drop down behind the mountains and it’s always that initial shock of night that jolts the human psyche while mentally gearing up for any sort of outdoor adventure – especially venturing off into the woods in search of natural phenomenons all by your lonesome.I could get abducted, I thought to myself, and at the very least I’d go down as a legend. “Travel Writer Disappears at Brown Mountain on First Assignment” the headlines would read. But those thoughts had to be suppressed in order to get on with business, so loading the equipment up became first priority and I quickly made for the door.Now, just for a little backstory for those who haven’t heard: small glowing apparitions have been sighted from numerous viewpoints surrounding Brown Mountain for centuries. Some sources have even claimed the Native Americans had seen them even before land surveyors reportedly did in the 1700s. Scientists have tried to explain them, but no theory has ever been provided with proof. Native American spirits? Swamp gas? Mineral electricity produced by geological activity? People are still investigating them as I write. Nobody knows for sure, but I knew one thing: I wanted to get a look and see for myself what all the fuss was about.As I stepped out the back door of the hotel to hit the road and make tracks towards the backwoods, lightning flashed, followed by a comforting roll of thunder, followed by a few more flashes, intensifying in brightness and quantity as seconds passed. Great…Driving up the long, rugged road to Wiseman’s View Overlook the rain sputtered to a mellow drizzle and fog began to creep out of the woods. The drive was slow going and about as creepy as one could ask for on an October night, but the haunting vibe of the drive had livened my senses, as any dose of fear usually does, and I actually felt quite thrilled to be where I was at that very moment despite not being able to see anything and having no idea where I was in the middle of the woods…About 15 minutes later I had made it to the top and was surprised to see headlights behind me. Grateful or scared – I’m not really sure which it was – but definitely surprised, I pulled over thinking I could get a little window chat going and possibly a hiking partner. I rolled the window down just to watch the truck pass hurredly by. No dice. I reluctantly followed and met them in the parking lot.“What you want, bud,” the Southern drawl irritatedly came through the one-inch-cracked window as I stood outside the truck in the parking lot probably looking just like the exact psycho I feared running into myself. The guy clearly wanted nothing to do with me, which became more apparent when I realized there was a female in the car–one he was likely hoping to be spending some alone time with up there. Clicking on my trusty headlamp, I moved on and headed to the trail, partnerless.Let it be said that the trail to Wiseman’s View Overlook is not long. It’s quite short, in fact. But for a midwesterner on a stormy, foggy October night hiking in the pitch black, the eerie silence intermittently breached by strange noises that were definitely (probably not) bears hunting me down was enough to put me on edge. About five miles in (probably 50 yards) I reluctantly turned back.The midnight lovers were still in their car and in a last ditch effort to save this mission from failure, I bravely approached the vehicle once more to seek out hiking pals. In retrospect, this was a dumb idea. Retrospect hit me after five seconds of awkwardly lingering in the dark next to the truck as I called out to the vehicle’s passengers and they silently ignored me. Righty-o. Abort mission.Frustratedly driving back out on the main road foreign bends in highway and strange buildings I didn’t recognize began to catch my attention. Wrong turn. Faaaantastic. This night couldn’t seem to go my way. Suddenly I see it! Brown Mountain Overlook. I knew exactly where I was, I had read about this spot–it was the other lookout point! I abrubtly swerved into the overlook parking lot and felt joyously rejuvenated realizing the mission was not doomed.Not only was I where I wanted to be, I was greeted by proof that not all North Carolina guys are so bad as a younger guy approached me – I think his name was Zimmer – and began telling me about the lights.“Oh yeah, you’re in the right place, bud,” Zimmer said. He’d been coming here most of his life, mostly to hang out with his brother and friends and to hike the areas fantastic trails and riversides, but knew all too well that the lights existed. “You keep watching those hills and they’ll show up right on the side of that mountain right there,” as he pointed into the darkness.Zimmer and his pals hung out for a bit and eventually took off,  warning me to be careful up in those woods at night.Enter Cindy, a grandmother and strong believer in the lights who frequents the viewpoint hoping to catch a third sight of them. Cindy had brought up two of her grandchildren this particular night, planning to hang around for a couple hours as the kids ran around the hillside whispering of possible sightings and whatever else adolescent girls whisper about.The view from the Brown Mountain Overlook on Hwy 181The view from the Brown Mountain Overlook on Hwy 181.“The first time was about twenty years ago, and it was just over this range here to the left side of the Brown Mountain Overlook, there were red lights that were rising from somewhere near that peak–or just over the other side of that peak–and I thought they were airplanes. But they would rise and stop up not too far above the range and then start coming towards the direction of where we were parked, and then they would disappear,” she said as cricket chirps echoed through the blackness of the canyon.Cindy’s advice: Patience is key.The full moon would peek through the clouds every now and then reflecting off of spooky fog patches down in the valley creating ghostly hazes far below. Cindy was excited to be there again staring over that bluff hoping to catch another glimpse of the legendary glowing orbs that every-so-often present themselves to patient viewers, and I was excited to have a few friendly people around as we all stood loyaly watching through the night. As time passed the rain returned, the air turned brisk, the wind began to bellow, and everybody’s patience wore thin. Skunked.As it turned out, the experience was worth the trouble despite the lack of a triumphant ending. Standing there on the edge, headlights swept passed me as Cindy and her children fled the coming rain and I was left standing alone in the dark once again. “Be careful if you’re going to stay alone,” she had told me while pulling away. But my own fear had subsided long ago, as it usually does when the thrill of adventure begins to peak and fear converts to fun, which, in turn, becomes reward. The lights hadn’t shown that night, but as I walked back to the car at the witching hour, I knew the night was a success. And not only was it a success, I’d never forget it.last_img read more

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Arno Ilgner – It’s the journey not the destination

first_imgAbove: Ilgner climbing at Laurel Knob. Photo Dominic SmithWhen living in North Carolina nearly a decade ago, I remember waking up in the back of my buddy’s truck and walking out with him to the base of Whiteside Mountain. We followed our way down the trail as thick clouds broke apart in the early morning sun.  At the base and looking up, the wall was huge – it’s the tallest, toughest cliff to climb in the Southeast. The plan for the day was to climb on the well-traveled right side of the southeast face. This meant we had to traverse past the Headwall, which had numerous grade IV 5.11 to 5.12 (or A4) scary, runout routes. All these years later, I still dream to have what it takes to do even one of the Headwall routes. Many of them are the work of Arno Ilgner, a climber since the ‘70s, who, in addition to having beefy forearms and precise footwork has used his own philosophical approach to take on these risky lines.Ilgner’s written two books on mental strength training for climbers: The Rock Warrior’s Way, $18.95 published in 2003, and Espresso Lessons From The Rock Warrior’s Way, $19.95 published in 2009, which builds on the content in the first book. His books focus on intelligent risk taking but the theories can extend through life. These days, he teaches mental strength clinics full time.Recently, I caught up with Arno and we setup a time for an interview. He’s not the tallest man, but he stands tall, has slightly bowed eyebrows and keeps sharp eye contact.Tell me about traveling and teaching clinics?Mid March I’m going to Mexico for a climbing festival, then the Red Rock Rendezvous [March 30th to April 1]. This is my work. I don’t have another job. All my time is devoted to teaching or giving presentations or working on projects. I’m currently working on a video for exercises that are taught at various clinics and camps. I have some recurring students but most are new. I’m [doing] a 2-week tour to an area, contact gyms, and scheduling clinics. Usually the clinics are open enrollment as opposed to being hired by a university. Being open enrollment can make the cash flow difficult if the clinics don’t fill. Therefore it’s important to work with gyms that truly want to host the training. I’ve contacted plenty of gyms that say “no” to hosting and I don’t convince them to change their minds.How big are the clinics?If I’m teaching without an assistant, it’s one instructor to six students.What are some of the countries you’ve visited for the clinics?Canada, Australia, Spain, Italy.Tell me about what you teach in the clinics.One of the main points is taking appropriate risks. Ninety nine percent of climbers don’t make appropriate risk decisions. They make decisions based on intellectual knowledge versus experience knowledge. In other words, they only use their intellect to assess risk. We teach the importance of actually experiencing falling. You truly know something when you’ve experienced it.First, people that start climbing learn how to move up the rock, belay, and lead. At some point they hit a plateau. They progress until their natural talent has maxed out. They’ve done everything they can to keep from falling. Eventually, though, they’ll fall. Yet they won’t be able to respond to the fall effectively because they have no falling experience. The belayer also won’t have experience to give a proper cushioned catch. Essentially they’re experiencing the full consequence of the fall without knowing how to deal with it. Climber and belayer will react by tensing, shortroping the climber and slamming him into the rock.By practicing falling you’ll understand what is a safe fall based on past falling experience. We begin fall practice on top rope and progress gradually. This is how the learning process works: add a little stress and process it into comfort. Then add more stress. You’re gaining actual experience of what it feels like to fall.Where did you come up with the idea of intellectual risk management? Was it while establishing routes at, Whitesides?I would say the Warrior’s Way isn’t intellectual, but rather experiential risk management. On Whitesides I was unconscious of the mental process going on in my mind. I didn’t really know why I was able to do some of the routes. My friends said I could deal with fear. That’s what spurred my interest to investigate it further. I talked with Peter Croft and John Bachar. I asked them how they were able to climb bold routes. I wanted to see if they could tell me what they were doing that helped them deal with fears that most climbers experienced. They said they didn’t know. Bachar would say stuff like “squirrels run up and down the rock, why should we be any different?”Bachar was taking the metaphor and applying it to his climbing.  I began studying mental training material and digging into it. I wanted to put more consciousness to it. I wanted to create a method for climbers to apply to their climbing so they could perform as well as possible.You’ve said that you don’t manage fear as well as others. Who are some of the people – southern climbers — who deal with fear well?I think I deal with fear just fine but I’m not exceptional. My friend In Atlanta, Shannon Stegg, has done a lot of bold ascents on ice and rock. He’s also taken more falls than most climbers I know, on ice too. I’ve never really talked with him about why he’s able to deal with fear well. He seems to have a genuine love for climbing. Though I don’t think his motivation is always as pure as it could be. Part of his motivation could be an escape mechanism for stresses in his life, as it is for most of us. In your books you write about analytical versus intuitive tendencies.Arno Ilgner. Photo Andrew KornylakArno Ilgner. Cover image on Espresso Lessons. Photo Andrew KornylakIntuitive climbers under-think and tend to rush through stress. Analytical climbers over-think and tend to stall out in stress. A strictly intuitive approach can lead to dangerous falls. That’s how Shannon is. Climbers like that can be seen as dealing with fear well because they don’t dwell on thoughts and doubts. From an outside perspective it looks like they’re engaging well. But, really, they’re rushing to escape the stress. They rush to get through the stress to get to the next rest stance.An analytic climber thinks things through?Yes, more than intuitive climbers. I tend to be like Shannon too. That’s helped me on routes at Whitesides. However, I need to build up my analytic by stopping to think risks through and make sure they are appropriate.The pump clock is ticking, right? We’ve all experienced that. Think about that – when the pump clock is ticking it means you’re in a stressful situation. The mind doesn’t like stress and it will look for ways to avoid that stress. As I’ve said, for an intuitive climber, the mind wants to rush through the stress to a place of comfort. You might be running it out and not be able to make it through and fall. The analytic climber is opposite. The mind wants to be in that place of comfort so it seeks out the comfort of the stance where you currently are; the comfort of the rest stance. Our minds are constantly motivated by where we’re going to be comfortable.For many climbers the goal is the top. The secondary goal is to take appropriate risks. The better goal is to be sure you’re taking an appropriate risk. It’s better to go through the risk assessment process at stances where you have protection and get off the route if it’s not appropriate. One of the worst things that can occur is for a climber to commit without doing proper risk assessment, hoping things turn out well, and succeed in making it to the next stance. They learn that that is an appropriate way to engage. Yet one day it won’t work and they’ll take a dangerous fall. Then you’ll injure yourself or worse. Instead of being focused on learning their motivation is that any means justify the end so to speak.If you become aware of the kind of thinking you’re doing – like let’s hurry up and get this done and get this checked off my list — then your mental process is distracting your attention from taking appropriate risks.The foundation needs to be learning based. It needs to be an appropriate risk. Otherwise you increase the chance of injury or worse.Has your ego ever gotten you in trouble while climbing?Great question [laughs]. When we’re younger we have plenty of ego. Fortunately I have not been injured in my climbing career. My ego got me in more trouble off the climb than on the climb.In Wyoming, though, a local climber, Pat, put up a first ascent called Modern Problems. It was in the 80s when sport climbing was just beginning and had a lot of bolts on it. It was moderately difficult. I did an ascent of it and also put up a climb next to it without bolts called Modern Solutions. Ego getting in there to show that I was a better climber than Pat because of the type of protection each route had and how I named the route. It took awhile to regain Pat’s friendship [laughing].I’ve taken plenty of longer, somewhat more dangerous falls but I don’t think it was motivated by ego. At least I can’t think of any at the moment.One thing I really enjoy doing is first ascents. I think part of that is really ego driven. We’re pushing into new ground. There’s a certain amount of motivation [that] comes from the ego. There’s something about first ascents that is really appealing to me. No one has been there before.Whatever ego may be in doing first ascent, I really do love climbing. The first day I was exposed to climbing in 1973 in high school at the local limestone crag in Tennessee I just knew I loved it. The position you get into, the exposure, being high off the ground, working with the ropes. It’s difficult to explain it; it just resonated with me and I knew I loved that activity. That’s been persistent throughout my climbing career.How does one sign up for your clinics?Either through the guide services I work with or gyms that host the training. The best way is to sign up for our eList at warriorsway.com so you get free lessons and updates on training. Some of the guide services I work with are: New River Mountain Guides in West Virginia, Fox Mountain Guides in North Carolina, and the American Alpine Institute in Washington. That’s just a few. We’ll schedule the camps and clinics and then get the word out.Volunteer WallArno Ilgner on the Volunteer Wall, Whitesides. Photo Scott Perkinslast_img read more

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Clips of the Week: Creeking in WNC, Singing in SNP, and Biting It at the TDF

first_imgOur favorite web videos from around the internets for the week that was:1. Taking It to the CreekWith the amount of precipitation the Southeast has gotten this spring and summer, the creekboating has been amaze-balls. Check out this boof montage footage from western North Carolina and East Tennessee.2. Sweet Mountain JamThis submission from BRO reader Kara Murphy is a original song set over some great shots from Virginia, including Grayson Highlands, McAfee Knob, Peaks of Otter, Shenandoah National Park and more.3. Something Dirty From the TourHere is something dirty from the Tour de France, and it’s not riders doping. Possibly NSFW language at the end, but not really sure because they are speaking English, like, the Great Britain version.last_img

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The Whiskey and the Wood

first_imgI’m not gonna say I was having a bad day—I think when you’re a middle class white guy who rides his bike, drinks beer then writes about it for a living, there’s no such thing as a bad day. Some days are better than others, but it’s important to keep it all in perspective. I never have to walk three miles with no shoes to get my drinking water, so I try not to bitch too much. But the day was…challenging.The kids were at each other over what was the proper way to pronounce “pumpkin,” or something ridiculous like that. Deadlines were piling up. My hip was hurting (yeah, I’m getting old). Plus, it was balls cold so we were all cooped up in the house—it was only a matter of time before we turned on each other.So I retreated to the backyard to chop wood and drink whiskey. Manly, right? I’m not saying women can’t chop wood or drink whiskey—most of the women I know could out drink me and probably wield an axe better than me. Still, there’s something decidedly masculine about sipping a big glass of brown liquor between swift and decisive axe swings. The burn from the liquor, the splinters from the split firewood, the flannel shirt…it may as well be a damned Viagra commercial.On this particular occasion, the whiskey in my glass was a rye from Catoctin Creek in Virginia. A little thin, but floral with a bit of pepper and easy as hell to drink. I chopped a lot of wood that afternoon, more than we needed for the night ahead. I was enjoying the rhythm of it all—slice a few pieces of firewood, take a sip of whiskey, slice a few pieces of firewood. A light snow started to fall, dropping a dusting on my fresh pile of sticks. The silence out there, compared to the chaos inside my house, was intoxicating.Soon though, it was time to lug the wood back into the house, to settle the great pumpkin pronunciation debate, and maybe hit a deadline or two. But my head was in a better space by then. I had a better perspective on things. A bit of whiskey, some time wielding an axe in the great outdoors, and suddenly, my day doesn’t look that bad after all.last_img read more

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Catawba Brewing’s ENO Hoppy Pilsner

first_imgLook, if I’m being perfectly honest, there aren’t many styles of beer that I don’t like. Saison, porter, IPA, sour, stout…I can think of a situation where each of these would be the perfect beverage. I found stouts go particularly well with little league baseball games. But I have a special place in my heart for pilsners, that crisp and refreshing style that has a long history in Europe and America, but has been overlooked for far too long by America’s craft brewers. Until recently. After decades of going deep into IPAs and barrel aged everything, more breweries are digging into the subtleties of the pilsner. Catawba gets a little off center with their new collaboration with Eagles Nest Outfitter, the ENO Hoppy Pilsner. ENO, of course, makes those handy hammocks that you see hanging all over the Appalachian Trail and college dorm rooms nationwide. Catawba Brewing and ENO are actually located on the same block in Asheville’s South Slope neighborhood. Plus, beer and hanging out in hammocks just go together, so a natural partnership was born.Now, here’s what I love about pilsners. They’re light and crisp and super easy to drink, but they tend to have a bit more going on than similarly light and easy drinking beers, like say, the blonde ale. Spend some time with a pilsner and you’ll uncover all kinds of subtle characteristics, from a corn-like sweetness to a hop bite from the addition of a robust German hop bill. Given the name, Catawba’s new version has plenty of the latter, but they also add a newer hop strain to the mix, American Idaho #7.  It’s still an easy-drinking beer built for summer, but there’s a layer of hoppiness that comes at you in a long wave of citrus and finishes with a hop bite. And it’s all just 4.9%, which means it’s not only the perfect hammock beer, it’s sessionable enough to be the perfect pump track beer too. Or Beer Mile beer. Or fly fishing beer. Or…Pick it up in six pack cans throughout the spring.last_img read more

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Mountain Mama: Sacred Places

first_imgThe sacred places, the ones that become annual rites of passages, mark the year’s progress. The landscape reminds us where we’ve been, and the breeze carries our dreams for the year ahead.Newtowne Neck State Park is one of my special places, as much for the memories the contour of the land holds as for the people I spend time with when I’m there.The state of Maryland purchased a peninsula that jets out into the Potomac River from the Jesuits, an order of Catholic priests who farmed the land for 300 years. The State of Maryland developed a paradise for swimmers, sea kayakers, and stand up paddle boarders along seven miles of sandy shoreline.photo1Back when the Jesuits still owned it, I was twelve-years old and my family lived about a mile away in a rundown farmhouse.Landlocked, my brothers and I explored where we could, wandering the graveyard dating back to the 1700s and making up stories about the children buried there. We rode our bikes between fields of towering corn stalks well past twilight.The state park provides something for our kids that we never had for the year we lived there – access to the river. The strands of golden beaches offer a connection to the water, a place to swim, crab, beachcomb, and launch kayaks.It’s become a family tradition, to load our own kids and a fleet of kayaks and pile into a couple trucks.Newtowne Neck is still a place with more land than people, where time seems to slow down and even our kids get quiet and still enough to notice the changing tides and the ospreys diving for dinner.photo3My sister-in-law, Oona, and I float in kayaks while our kids splash in the water.She turns to me. “What a difference a year makes. Remember the conversations we had here last year?”Memories wash over me. Last year I was talking about taking Tobin sailing for a month. The idea seemed so daunting and impossible, but also possessed me because at the time it was the only thing I really wanted to do. I was contemplating leaving a job and starting my own business. A year later, I have started a business and we set sail last January.I gaze at Tobin. Last year he was three, a few months away from turning four. He was still shy most of the time, greeting strangers with his face buried into the back of my knees, terrified of being seen by the world.Tobin calls out to me and interrupts my thoughts. “Mama, we want a turn with the kayaks.”I see his older cousin already climbing into a kayak, so I paddle to shore and watch as he gets into my kayak.Tobin paddles his own kayak for the first time. The kayak, big and unwieldy, makes it difficult for his small body to control. When he can’t turn the kayak, he stands up and sits down facing his body toward the stern, continuing to paddle forward in an effort to keep up with his big cousin.I dip my toes in the water standing side-by-side with Oona, admiring our sons’ respective growth over the past year. We do the thing parents do, wondering aloud, “How did he get so big?”The boys paddle further out into the water, further away from us.I try to remember who Tobin was a year ago, trying to recall what phrases he said and what he liked to play. I struggle to conjure up his three-year-old self and I begin to doubt if I was present enough in his life, or even my own.Tobin lands his kayak and pulls it up on the beach, out of reach from the incoming tide. His shoulders and back look so strong. He’s all muscle and ribs, none of his toddler fat remains.He runs up to me. “Mama, I leaned my kayak way over, I was tacking it.”I laugh. Tacking is a sailing term for turning the bow of a boat through the wind and inevitably the boat leans over on its side. We’ve led a watery life together and he’s integrating the experiences in his mind, making them his own.The sun lowers in the sky and I wrap a towel around Tobin. He reaches his arms upward, toward me. “Mama, hold me.”I scoop him in my arms and press him close, aware that time passes and we grow older, whether we intend to or nor. Standing in there bathed by the bright pastels of the setting sun, all my other goals and dreams fall away.All that is left is the important stuff – I am experiencing this sacred place with my son and some of our most beloved.More from Mountain Mama:last_img read more

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